David Bowie and John Lennon first met in scenes extra harking back to a clumsy kids’s playdate than a summit of two of rock’s biggest ever stars, in line with a brand new interview with music producer Tony Visconti.
Talking on the programme Bowie: Dancing Out in House, airing on BBC Radio 4 and 6Music on 10 January to mark 5 years since Bowie’s dying, Visconti, who produced 11 of Bowie’s studio albums, tells the story of how the pair met in a New York resort room, forward of their collaborations on Bowie’s 1975 tune Fame and his cowl of the Lennon-penned Beatles tune Throughout the Universe.
“He was afraid of assembly John Lennon,” says Visconti, who was requested by Bowie to accompany him and “buffer the state of affairs”. He added:
About one within the morning I knocked on the door and for in regards to the subsequent two hours, John Lennon and David weren’t talking to one another. As an alternative, David was sitting on the ground with an artwork pad and a charcoal and he was sketching issues and he was fully ignoring Lennon. So, after about two hours of that, he [John] lastly mentioned to David, ‘Rip that pad in half and provides me a number of sheets. I need to draw you.’ So David mentioned, ‘Oh, that’s a good suggestion’, and he lastly opened up. So John began making caricatures of David, and David began doing the identical of John they usually stored swapping them after which they began laughing and that broke the ice.
Visconti says the pair’s “nice friendship” was settled from then on. Per week later, Bowie referred to as Lennon to ask him to play on the Throughout the Universe cowl; following the recording, a jam they labored up collectively grew to become Fame, co-written with guitarist Carlos Alomar.
Each songs ended up on 1975 album Younger Individuals, whose title monitor options one other Beatles reference, the road, “I heard the information at this time, oh boy.” Fame, on which Lennon additionally sang falsetto backing vocals, reached No 1 to change into Bowie’s first US hit.
Visconti, 76, additionally refers back to the encounter in his 2007 autobiography Bowie, Bolan and the Brooklyn Boy. He met his future spouse Might Pang – who was relationship Lennon whereas he was estranged from Yoko Ono – for the primary time that night, and he offended her with an ill-advised remark about kung fu. “Finally everybody within the room lastly acquired right into a dismally darkish dialog about, ‘What does all of it imply’, ‘it’ being life, which left us all staring dejectedly on the ground; we weren’t helped by the dwindling results of the cognac and coke,” he wrote.
He added that he left round 10am that morning, returning at 4pm to search out Bowie awake in precisely the identical spot he had left him, and saying he was lastly going to mattress.
A beforehand unreleased Bowie cowl of Lennon’s tune Mom – which addressed his absent dad and mom – was launched on 8 January to mark what would have been Bowie’s 74th birthday.
Visconti says within the BBC interview that Bowie’s mom Margaret “was a really withdrawn, very unhappy individual. Most likely suffered from power melancholy … She was ill and regardless that they didn’t get on very well, he went again to London to see her. So, he liked her nonetheless … [the cover of] Mom was in all probability a response to that, possibly a approach of expressing that.”
Visconti, whose profession with Bowie stretches again to Bowie’s self-titled second album in 1969, additionally mentioned his ultimate album Blackstar, launched in 2016 on his 69th birthday two days earlier than he died of liver most cancers at dwelling in New York. Knowledgeable by jazz, electronica and Kendrick Lamar, it’s now thought to be considered one of Bowie’s most interesting releases.
“His keenness was unbelievable,” Visconti says. “It was vital for him. He knew what his well being points had been. It was vital for him to get this album achieved. However we by no means spoke about it, aside from one personal dialog I had with him previous to the album, his well being was by no means introduced up. He didn’t even actually look unhealthy or act unhealthy, he was in nice form. You could possibly hear from that singing that his voice was in all probability the strongest ever in his life.”
Visconti additionally mentioned Bowie will likely be “remembered like Beethoven … in 100 years’ time … He’s greater than an Elvis, as a result of Elvis by no means wrote a single tune in his life.
“If he created a formulation, he definitely wouldn’t use it a second time. Bowie was not solely a songwriter, he was an innovator on each degree. He was an excellent dancer, he was an actor. Greater than only a rock star.”